On Maunday Thursday of this year, the newly elected pope broke out of the tradition of popes before him to wash the feet, not of fellow priests, but of 12 young offenders from a detention center. This has been fairly controversial in the Catholic Church, but as soon as I heard this, I was so impressed! Finally, someone in the spotlight who 'gets it'. Those whose feet were washed were not priests, they weren't considered holy by religious standards, however, the disciples at that time probably weren't either. A tax collector, a doubter, and even a betrayer. Yes, Jesus even washed Judas' feet. The pope washed the feet of 2 girls, 2 Muslims and all those who he washed were from different nationalities. The pope said during a speech that day, "“We need to go out, then, in order to experience our own anointing (as priests)… to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight". Sound familiar? Sounds kind of like what Christ tells us to do huh?! So, why aren't we?
In this time, sandals were primarily the only shoes people wore and imagine walking in dirt with sandals how dirty your feet would be. This act of footwashing was usually set aside only for the servant of the house, not for the guest of honor and certianly NOT for Jesus. He flew in the face of tradition, taking on the heart and act of a servant to be an example to his disciples and to us that THIS is the heart we should have-one of service and humility.
In John 13 it reads...
I find it interesting also that in the same chapter, Jesus talks about a NEW COMMAND. This new command?Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”I would much rather be known as a Chrisitian because of my love for others instead of other reasons. How about you?
As Christians, as sinners, were we not once as dirty as feet in sandals walking in the dirt. We are no better than the tax collector, betrayer or delinquent. We should be living as those who have been washed by the blood of Jesus! AMEN?
So, instead of being frustrated or angry or indifferent to 'traditions' being broken, lets embrace it! He himself says he has set an example and we SHOULD do as He has done.